nps observation deckPhoto: The Observation Deck at Sandy Hook is a great place to see the forest for the trees and the wildlife living there. NPS PHOTO

SANDY HOOK, NJ - With the donation of materials from the Sandy Hook Foundation, Gateway National Recreation Area will repair and rebuild Sandy Hook’s popular Observation Deck beginning Wednesday, April 1. The park expects the deck to be available to the public by the Memorial Day weekend.

Park employees will insure that the deck and stairs are structurally sound. Composite plastic boards will be purchased for the park by the Sandy Hook Foundation, the official friends organization to Gateway’s Sandy Hook Unit. New wayside displays are underway. Afterward, staff will assess the remainder of the structure and make other repairs as needed.

The Observation Deck was originally built by the U.S. Army as part of Fort Hancock in 1965-66. It was used for electronic search, intercept and analysis using classified instruments. After the National Park Service assumed responsibility for Sandy Hook in 1975, the deck became popular among park visitors, especially birdwatchers. For years, the local chapter of the National Audubon Society used the structure to monitor spring bird migration patterns.

Gateway’s Sandy Hook Unit is located on the Atlantic Flyway, a major migration path for birds. Approximately 325 species of birds can be seen at Sandy Hook.


About Fort Hancock and Sandy Hook Proving Ground National Historic Landmark

Fort Hancock is located within the Sandy Hook Unit of Gateway National Recreation Area. The peninsula has played a major role in the defense of New York Harbor from colonial days to the present. Fort Hancock, a U.S. Army fort, was established in 1895 and operated until it was deactivated in 1974. Most of the landmark is located in the Sandy Hook Unit of Gateway National Recreation Area. For information about Gateway's upcoming public programs, see the park's Web site at To join the conversation about Gateway, like us on our Facebook page